On 29 August BirdLife Free State had a birdringing day at Kloofeind south-west of Bloemfontein. The morning started out quite chilly, but later the day turned out to be a very nice late winter day (or should we rather call it an early spring day?).
Male Short-toed Rock-Thrush in ringing process (Photo: Dawie de Swardt)
On arrival at the site the calls of a Short-toed Rock-Thrush (Monticola brevipes) were heard. It was spotted where it worked the area around an old klipkraal for early titbits. Snaptraps were set and put out in the area where the Thrush had been spotted and very soon afterwards the first special bird for the day was in the trap. It was a male bird and it got it's very unique bangle with the number CC94704 on the right leg. It was very obliging and posed after receiving the bangle for a few photos, after which it had been released.
Other special birds that were ringed were the pair of Pririt Batises (Batis pririt) - both the male and female birds - they were caught in the mistnets. It was very interesting to see (and hear) the fierce pose these small birds put up when handled at the nets and while ringing. For such a small bird, weighing a mere 7,5g, they made quite a lot of noise and snapped their small bills angrily while they were handled. Fortunately they were released very quickly after receiving their bangles to go about their own ways.
A number of Acacia Pied Barbets (Tricholaema leucomelas) were netted through the morning, as well as a female Namaqua Dove (Oena capensis), Fiscal Flycatchers (Sigelus silens) and the odd Familiar Chat (Cercomela familiaris) in a snaptrap. Other birds for the day included a Kalahari Scrub-Robin (Cercotrichas paena) and Chestnut-vented Tit-Babbler (Parisoma subcaeruleum).
Close up of Short-toed Rock-Thrush (Photo: Dawie de Swardt)
The other highlight of the day was a Long-billed Pipit (Anthus similis) that had been tricked into the snaptrap. The bird was spotted where it patrolled an open grassy area with small rocks and sparse bushes. Snaptraps were set out in different spots in that area and in the end the bird could not resist the wriggling mealworm in the trap. The pipit had been bangled (CC94706) and after a photoshoot had been released again.
A total of 21 birds had been ringed and two recaptures of birds ringed before at this site had been made.
The pentad had been atlased as well for SABAP2 and a total of 58 species were counted in the pentad.